Dawson Mercer aims to extend his career-high goal streak to six games on Saturday when the New Jersey Devils face the Philadelphia Flyers in Newark, N.J.
Mercer capped his second two-goal performance in the past three games by tallying 2:30 into overtime to lift the Devils to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
“I was happy to get my name called upon to get out there (in overtime),” Mercer said. “Out there with pretty good players like Dougie (Hamilton) and Jack (Hughes). If they have the puck, I want to make sure I get myself open. Dougie found me, and that one went in the back of the net.”
Mercer has seven goals during his streak to boost his season total to 18, two more than he amassed in his rookie campaign of 2021-22.
“(Mercer is) pretty sneaky,” New Jersey linemate Tomas Tatar said. “Our whole line is clicking pretty good right now. Dawson is playing great hockey. He’s hot, and I hope he’s going to stay hot.”
How hot is Mercer? Well, his goal streak is tied with captain Nico Hischier (Dec. 28-Jan. 5) and Hughes (Dec. 30-Jan. 7) for the longest by a Devils player this season.
Mercer scored a goal in New Jersey’s 3-2 victory at Philadelphia on Dec. 3. He has two points in three games against the Flyers this season, games in which the Devils went 1-2-0.
Hughes, who has scored two goals against Philadelphia this season, has eight points (two goals, six assists) in five games since the All-Star break. He has posted career-high totals in goals (35) and assists (37) in just 54 games this season.
Hischier scored the tying goal with 39 seconds remaining in regulation on Thursday to boost his point total to six (three goals, three assists) in his past four games.
While the Devils are chasing the Carolina Hurricanes for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers have dropped six of their past seven games (1-5-1) to make themselves comfortable in seventh place in the division.
The latest defeat was a 5-2 blowout against the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Friday.
“They played with the puck,” Philadelphia forward Scott Laughton said of the Canadiens. “We watched. Didn’t move our feet. They made us pay.”
Owen Tippett scored for the second time in as many games for the Flyers.
“I always tell ya, I think he’s going to be a good player for us,” Philadelphia coach John Tortorella said of Tippett, who unleashed a game-high eight shots on goal. “I look at how some players are improving as you look to forecast the future. That’s exciting.”
On Saturday morning, the Flyers placed leading scorer Travis Konecny on injured reserve and recalled fellow forward Elliot Desnoyers from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League.
Konecny has sat out the Flyers’ last two games due to an upper-body injury he sustained in Monday’s 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Konecny, 25, sports team-leading totals in goals (27) and points (54) this season. His goal total serves as a career high.
Flyers rookie goalie Samuel Ersson likely will oppose New Jersey for the first time after Carter Hart yielded five goals on 31 shots vs. Montreal. Ersson, 23, sports a 6-0-0 record with a 2.56 goals-against average in nine appearances (seven starts) this season.
Vitek Vanecek likely will get the nod in net for the Devils. He fell to 0-3-0 in his career against the Flyers despite allowing two goals on 24 shots in a 2-1 setback on Dec. 15.
Prior to the Saturday game, the Devils will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 2002-03 Stanley Cup championship.
–Field Level Media